Elisabeth (musical)

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Musical dates
Title: Elisabeth
Original language: German
Music: Sylvester Levay
Book: Michael Kunze
Premiere: 3rd September 1992
Place of premiere: Theater an der Wien
in Vienna
Roles / people
  • Elisabeth
  • The death
  • Luigi Lucheni
  • Franz Joseph
  • Archduchess Sophie
  • Duchess Ludovika
  • Helene von Wittelsbach
  • Mrs. Wolf
  • Archduke Rudolf
  • Duke Max in Bavaria
  • Archduke Rudolf as a child
  • Countess Esterhazy
  • Mrs. Windisch, a madman
  • Count Grünne
  • Prince Schwarzenberg
  • Baron Kempen
  • Cardinal Rauscher
  • Baron Huebner
  • Several Viennese citizens
  • Hungarian nobles
  • Viennese nobles
  • Various family members of Elisabeth
  • Servants
  • Several angels of death
Advertisement for Elisabeth at the Theater an der Wien

Elisabeth is a drama musical by Michael Kunze ( libretto ) and Sylvester Levay (music). Produced by the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien , it premiered on September 3, 1992 in the Theater an der Wien . It tells the life story of the Austrian Empress Elisabeth as a dance of death .


1st act

The action begins about a hundred years after Empress Elisabeth's death in the realm of the dead and dreamers. Elisabeth's murderer Luigi Lucheni has to justify his act night after night before an invisible judge. He explains that he is not to blame, because death incited him to do so, and that out of love. He conjures up the sunken world of the Habsburg Empire again to substantiate his claim. Elisabeth appears as a 15-year-old girl who prefers to practice circus tricks instead of visiting relatives with her mother Ludovika and sister Helene . Elisabeth falls and meets death for the first time. Both feel a strong mutual fascination. In Bad Ischl , Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria falls in love with Elisabeth instead of, as planned by his mothers, her older sister Helene . For Elisabeth, a new life begins with the wedding, at which death expresses both his disappointment and his certainty of victory. She is constantly guarded, educated and trained by her mother-in-law Archduchess Sophie and her court ladies. She realizes that she has lost her freedom and decides to defend herself. Death meets her again when he takes her first daughter Sophie with him. Even when the long-awaited heir to the throne Rudolf was born, Elisabeth's position at court did not improve. As with the other children, Sophie takes over Rudolf's upbringing. When Elisabeth found out about the nature of the upbringing, she gave Franz-Joseph an ultimatum: she would like to decide on the upbringing of her children or she would not return to him. Meanwhile, the people turn increasingly against the empress, because she bathes in milk that the people no longer get. Lucheni stirs them up. Franz-Joseph has decided to accept her ultimatum and submits his decision to her. But it is clear to death that this new bond will not last.

2nd act

Elisabeth's concern for the Hungarian cause resulted in a settlement with Hungary and the coronation of Franz-Joseph and Elisabeth as King and Queen of Hungary. Lucheni praises the audience “Kitsch!” About the new royal couple. In addition, Lucheni shows the compensation as the beginning of the end of the Habsburg Empire. Elisabeth seems to be at the height of her triumph and meets death again, which draws her attention to the fact that she is still a prisoner of the court and only he can free her.
Death finds a willing listener in her little son Rudolf, who often feels lonely. Archduchess Sophie, on the other hand, sees her influence on Elisabeth's son waning and seeks to reduce her influence on him. To this end, she instructs Count Grünne to hire a prostitute in Madame Wolf's salon , who shows the emperor that there is not only one woman in the world. The count, however, selects exactly those who suffer from the French disease ( syphilis ).
When Elisabeth falls ill, Death confronts her in the form of a doctor and lets her know that her husband was unfaithful to her and infected her with this venereal disease. However, he does not achieve that she turns to him out of desperation; Rather, she sees the possibility of breaking free from her husband.
While she travels, her husband remains worried at court in Vienna. Meanwhile her son Rudolf grows up to be a grown man who despairs of his father. He is also unhappily married and supports the Hungarians. He is caught at a conspiratorial meeting. The father rages. He sees his only salvation in the fact that Elisabeth stands up for him with the emperor. She clearly rejects that; she would not have freed herself and then put herself back into the constraints of the court. He only finds refuge in death, which he has known from childhood. He only sees one way out.
After Rudolf's suicide, Elisabeth is plagued by feelings of guilt. She realizes that she has gone a step too far in her self-liberation. She has nothing in common with Franz-Joseph either. She had already finished her life when Death presented Lucheni with the triangular file with which he was to kill Elisabeth. The emperor, seeing this as a nightmare, still loves her and finally visits her one last time. She rejects him again. After Lucheni's successful assassination attempt, death approaches Elisabeth, hugs her, gives her the kiss of death and leads her into his kingdom. So he finally achieved what he wanted; Elisabeth is his and theirs is eternity. Lucheni commits suicide while in custody.

Sequence of scenes and songs

1st act

  1. prolog
  2. Like you
  3. Nice to see you all
  4. No coming without going (Útvesztő minden út)
    In the Hungarian production from 1996, as well as in the Vienna anniversary version 2012 (Raimund Theater) (replaces Black Prince ), was included in the follow-up productions.
  5. Rondo of Love and Death (Ai To Shi No Rondo)
    Included in the Japanese versions of Takarazuka and Toho since 1996. The melody is identical to that of the Hungarian song Útvesztő minden út, but there are differences in the text and in the interpretation.
  6. Wie Du (recapitulation)
    In the first version, in the Hungarian and the Swedish version. For the Dutch version, this part was rewritten as the song Schwarzer Prinz (text change) and kept in this version in subsequent productions until 2012. It has now been brought together in German-language productions since Vienna 2012 with Kein Kommen ohne Gehn.
  7. He gives everyone their own
  8. The way you plan and think ...
  9. Nothing is difficult
  10. All questions are asked
  11. It doesn't fit
  12. The last Dance
  13. An empress has to shine
  14. I only belong to me
  15. Stations of a marriage
  16. The shadows grow longer
  17. The happy apocalypse
  18. Kind or not
    For the first time in the German production 2001, it was included in the follow-up productions.
  19. Elisabeth, open up my angel
  20. milk
  21. Beauty care / Our empress should weigh herself
  22. I just want to tell you / I belong only to me (recapitulation) / Finale 1st act

2nd act

  1. kitsch
  2. Éljen
    Not implemented in the productions in Scheveningen, Essen and Stuttgart.
  3. When I want to dance
    Written for the German production in 2001, was incorporated into most of the follow-up productions.
  4. Mum where are you?
  5. She is crazy
  6. Nothing, nothing, nothing at all
    In the first performance just a verse with a dance sequence, but was soon rewritten. The so-called madhouse ballad was adopted in all productions, but was often inserted at different points in the second act.
  7. Us or them
  8. Just don't be embarrassed
  9. The Last Chance (The Maladie)
  10. Between dream and reality
    Only during the first season of the Japanese Toho production in 2000. A German version of the song can be heard on the Stuttgart Cast CD.
  11. " Is that now my reward / An empress has to shine (recapitulation)
  12. Bellaria
    Was first included in the Hungarian and Japanese premieres (both 1996) and carried over to subsequent productions.
  13. Restless Years
    Here follows the madhouse scene in the Japanese Takarazuka productions She is crazy . Note: In the Stuttgart and Essen production, this was followed by the argument and hatred .
  14. Jagd
    Only in the premiere version, the Hungarian and Swedish production and in the premiere in Vienna.
  15. The shadows grow longer (recapitulation)
  16. Conspiracy
    Only in the productions in Scheveningen (Netherlands), Essen & Stuttgart (Germany) as well as Hungary and Japan. Note: In the Stuttgart and Essen production, the Wie du (recapitulation) followed .
  17. Dispute between father and son in Essen, Berlin and Vienna (but not in the original version)
  18. Hate
    Not in the Japanese Takarazuka productions
  19. Like you (reprise)
    Not in the Japanese Takarazuka productions
  20. If i were your mirror
  21. Mayerling waltz
  22. Lamentation
  23. My new range
  24. Boats in the night
  25. On the deck of the sinking world / All questions are asked (recapitulation)
  26. The veil falls
  27. Future Souls (only on the 10th Anniversary CD and never integrated into a piece)

Production history

Elisabeth was premiered on September 3, 1992 and was then on the performance schedule until April 25, 1998 in the Theater an der Wien under the direction of Harry Kupfer . From October 3, 2003 to December 4, 2005, the musical was resumed in Vienna. Since the premiere there have been numerous international productions in Japan , Hungary , the Netherlands (1999-2001), Sweden (1999-2000), Italy (2004, 2005), Finland (2005-2006), Switzerland (2006, 2008 –2009) and Belgium (2009). From September 5, 2012 to February 1, 2014 the musical was played again in Vienna in the Raimund Theater , from March 2013 for the first time with English surtitles . Up until February 1, 2014, the piece had been played 2181 times in Vienna. The German tour production was voted “Best Tour Musical” in the 2014 Musical1.de musical elections.


Elisabeth Austria First cast Vienna (1992) First cast Vienna (2003) First cast Vienna (2012) Premiere cast Vienna (2019)
Empress Elisabeth of Austria Pia Douwes Maya Hakvoort Annemieke van Dam Pia Douwes
The death Uwe Kroeger Máté Kamarás Mark Seibert
Luigi Lucheni Ethan Freeman Serkan Kaya Kurosh Abbasi David Jakobs
Emperor Franz Joseph I. Viktor Gernot André Bauer Franziskus Hartenstein Viktor Gernot
Archduchess Sophie Else Ludwig Daniela Ziegler
Archduke Rudolf Andreas Bieber Jesper Tydén Anton Zetterholm Lukas Perman
Duke Max in Bavaria Wolfgang Pampel Dennis Kozeluh Christian Peter Hauser Hans Neblung
Duchess Ludovika Christa Wettstein Susanna Panzner Carin Filipčić Patricia Nessy

German-speaking area

Elisabeth Germany Premiere cast Essen (2001) Premiere cast Stuttgart (2005) Premiere cast Berlin (2008) Premiere cast 1st tour (2009) Premiere cast 2nd tour (2011) Premiere cast 3rd tour (2015)
Empress Elisabeth Pia Douwes Maike Boerdam Pia Douwes Annemieke van Dam Roberta Valentini
The death Uwe Kroeger Olegg Vynnyk Uwe Kroeger Oliver Arno Mark Seibert
Luigi Lucheni Carsten Lepper Bruno Grassini Kurosh Abbasi
Emperor Franz Joseph I. Michael Shawn Lewis Ivar Helgasson Markus Pol Mathias Edenborn Maximilian Mann
Archduchess Sophie Gabriele Ramm Susan Rigvava-Dumas Christa Wettstein Betty Vermeulen Angelika Wedekind
Archduke Rudolf Jesper Tydén Martin Pasching Oliver Arno Thomas Hohler Oliver Arno Thomas Hohler
Duke Max in Bavaria Claus Dam Michael Flöth Norbert Lamla Thomas Bayer Dennis Kozeluh
Duchess Ludovika Annika Bruhns Kaatje Dierks Maike Katrin Schmidt Susanna Panzner Elissa Huber Caroline Summers

Further stations


The only official German-language DVD (in picture format 4: 3, full screen) was produced in December 2005 on the occasion of the Dernière of the Viennese production in a limited edition. Playing: Maya Hakvoort (Elisabeth), Máté Kamarás (Death), Serkan Kaya (Lucheni), André Bauer (Emperor Franz Joseph), Fritz Schmid (Crown Prince Rudolf) and Else Ludwig (Archduchess Sophie). Since November 16, 2006 there has also been a collector's edition (in 16: 9 aspect ratio, widescreen) with an additional DVD containing 22-minute documentation and photos. A 3-DVD version with the same cast has also been released. There are also various recordings of the Japanese Takarazuka versions and unofficial recordings from the Dutch Scheveningen production and the world premiere in Vienna in 1992.

German-language CD recordings

Sometimes Elisabeth titles are on the CDs: Best of Musical Vol.1, Best of Musical Vol.2, Musical Stars, Musical Diva, Musicalcocktail, Favorites, Only the best, In love with Musical, Elisabeth - Music of an Epoch, Empress Elisabeth Melodies, The fascinating world of musicals, Boulevard of Desires, Peter Weck presents, The Shades of Night, Musical Musical, Alles Musical Vol.1, Music of the Night, The fantastic world of musicals - The highlights of the German original recordings, Alles Musical Vol.2 , Musical Moments, Arena der Stars, Musical Moments 2, The greatest musical hits, Only the best - the most beautiful musical hits, The best of 20 years, Musical the show, Musical Forever, WIEN musical concert, and many more.


  • Birgit Rommel: The “Black Seagull” becomes “Elisabeth”. Creation and staging history of the musical about the Empress of Austria . Diplomica Verlag , Hamburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-8366-5417-3 .

Web links

Commons : Elisabeth (musical)  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. www.musical1.de/wahlen/